I’d like to start off this post by saying that I’m not all that big into Valentine’s Day in my personal life. J and I don’t go out to dinner and I don’t expect jewels or flowers (although I usually do get the latter). We might use the occasion as a reason to buy a bottle of champagne and drink some bubbly things, but that’s about it. For some reason, though, I get really into thinking up Valentine’s Day posts. I made my crazy pink cake this weekend, and now I’ve got a delicious cocktail to share with you. But first, I’m going to tell you a story about how I’m a crazy person. A crazy person with an obsessive personality, an extreme loathing for rude, stupid jerks, and keen Internet sleuthing skills.
Last year, I did another Valentine’s Day cocktail. (Lord, looking at those pictures makes me feel like I’ve come a long way in a year!) And while J and I were out at lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, we got to talking to the bartender about drink ideas for Valentine’s Day, and J brought up my blog post. A few days later, they shared my post on their Facebook page, noting that they’d be serving that as a cocktail special on the 14th. No more than five minutes later, I received this comment. Erm, really dude? If trolling is your thing, fine, go for it. Live your dream. But I strongly believe that if you’re going to insult someone, you should make sure you actually know what you’re talking about. The Champagne Cocktail — not exactly a new thing. Nor is champagne as a mixer, in general. Thirty seconds of googling might have helped Kevin McDouche figure that out.
So, feeling taken aback and rather indignant, (especially since this person was mostly likely from the Burlington area), I decided to google the email address attached to the comment. It turned up a LinkedIn page. I then searched for Kevin [Last Name] + Burlington, and it brought me his Meetup page. (And you guys, not only is he from Burlington as I suspected, but he’s a self-proclaimed foodie — I had no idea. I guess he must know what he’s talking about.) Turns out his last name isn’t McDouche, but it is one letter short of Lame, so it’s nearly as fitting.
I have since seen this guy around at a couple of restaurants. I’ve considered sending him a champagne cocktail, but I’m far too much of a weenie to do anything like that. (Also, it’s been a year, and at this point, that would be cause to brand me as a nutjob.) So instead, I’m taking this opportunity to tell all of you about it. And to make the point that enjoying a nice champagne is all well and good. But mix in other things, and you can create something even better. Like a French 75.
I love the French 75. I drink it. I’ve also been known to freeze and eat it. It is a fantastic combination of gin, citrus, sugar, and champagne. Its namesake is the French 75-mm field gun, which saw heavy use throughout World War I and was quite the advancement in weaponry at the time, as its recoil system allowed for smoother operation. Much like the field gun, this is a smooth drink that packs a quite a punch.
I have an obsession with thin, epically long citrus zest in my French 75s, which I think I must have picked up from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. (I leave out the cherry though — not my thing in this drink.) To get a thin citrus zest, you want to use something like this. (You could probably achieve a similar effect by using a vegetable peeler and then trimming it down, though it would be a little tedious.) Once you’ve gotten the zest of the citrus, just curl it up into a little pile and let it sit for a minute. This will help it hold its shape. Or you could not bother with this at all if you choose. But I really think it adds to the visual aesthetic. (And it kind of resembles a rose — so appropriate for the occasion.)
The original French 75 recipe calls for lemon juice, but I wanted to do a blood orange take on it. Mostly so I could snap pictures of blood oranges, and bring you a prettier finished product. (And I think it worked, if I do say so myself. The beautiful gradient thing that happened at the bottom of the glass makes me want to hug the pictures.) And the end result is extremely delicious. So, in short, I’m saying to you: make these. Make them now. Make them on the 14th. Make them for you and your other, or make them for yourself. If you enjoy a strong, bubbly drink, then you want to drink this.
Blood Orange French 75
makes: 1 drink
- 2 oz. of gin
- 1 oz. of blood orange juice
- 1 tsp simple syrup
- epic blood orange zest
Combine gin, blood orange juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and then pour into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with zest.